Because these cars are more likely to be stolen, it is increasingly more expensive to insure them. According to data from the RATESDOTCA auto insurance quoter, comprehensive insurance premiums (where theft claims would be covered) on these specific commonly stolen cars jumped between 25% to 50% over the last two years.
For instance, drivers fitting the same profile — 35-year-old males in Toronto with no prior convictions — who took out coverage for the CR-V from the same insurer saw an increase of 26% on the comprehensive portions of their auto insurance between 2022 and 2023.
Read more: These are the top five factors that influence your auto insurance rate
Drivers will need to take precautions or pay the price
In an effort to reduce their costs paid out to theft claims, insurance companies across Canada have introduced a $500 high-theft vehicle surcharge to owners of high-risk vehicles. The surcharge will then be removed once the drivers provide a proof of purchase of an anti-theft device.
CAA, for example, have asked their customers to purchase a vehicle lock device such as a steering wheel lock (known as the club) and show proof of purchase to remove the surcharge.
“If we can better educate drivers on how to protect their vehicles, and have vehicles secure, then you’ve eliminated much more of the problem,” says Elliott Silverstein, director of government relations of CAA Insurance Company. “People can see that there’s a steering wheel lock on that car that’s going to require [them] to spend 10 or 20 minutes trying to break that open.”
Some companies, including Aviva, Gore Mutual, TD Insurance and others, have partnered up with the Canadian anti-theft tracking company Tag to help prevent, and recover, stolen cars. The Tag System places individual trackers on commonly sold parts of the car to make the resale of parts harder for thieves, and automobile recovery across North America more possible.
Customers who have high-risk vehicles may be charged a High Theft Vehicle surcharge at renewal unless they install a Tag tracking system on their car.
Some of these insurance partners will offer reimbursement for the Tag installation, which costs around $400, or offer a credit for the installation and remove or refund the surcharge; others remove the surcharge only.
A national crisis
Across Canada, auto theft claims have cost insurance companies over a billion dollars, according to Équité Association. And the price of these car thefts go beyond just financial — violent carjackings also jumped 78% between 2021 and 2022.
The overwhelming majority of these auto thefts are orchestrated by organized criminals, and some of the hardest hit areas for theft are major port cities like Toronto and Montreal, where crime rings will ship out their stolen goods out to other countries.
“Organized auto theft is one of the primary revenue generators of organized crime,” says Nick Milinovich, deputy chief of Peel Regional Police at a symposium held in March.
Because of the complex relationship between auto thefts and organized crime, the government of Ontario has stepped in, too. They announced $51 million in investments in May to target car thefts linked to organized crime, reduction of gang violence to dismantle vehicle theft rings, and to boost community safety and more. The investment will be carried out over the next three years.
“In order to solve this, this is going to take multiple layers,” says CAA’s Elliott Silverstein. “This is going to require vehicle manufacturers at the table, and making sure police are continuing to be vigilant. It’s requiring drivers to take the necessary precautions to protect their vehicles. Everybody plays a part in this.”
In addition to using a steering wheel club and install the Tag tracking system to their car, drivers can also ward away car-seeking criminals by keeping their keys in a signal-blocking Faraday bag at home, and parking their cars in a well-lit location overnight.